Some Death-friending Practices
Hello & blessings to you and all your relations
In celebratory responsibility for my first official interview as a podcast guest, https://ericgarza.info/hcp-63/ , I wanted to follow up with some suggestions and practices for listeners. I know that this topic can feel edgy, perhaps downright dangerous, so here are some trauma aware ways to engage with the material.
A good Prayer-Container goes a long way
Included here is an audio file of one example of how to pray in a way to set up a good, non-denominational, open source prayer container. When developing your own version of something like this, some keys are:
Do a Land Acknowledgment. https://usdac.us/nativeland If you google “land acknowledgment” you will find many more resources.
Be respectful. There are lots of beings and relationships supporting you. Acknowledge them and wish them well.
Ask for help, both generally and specifically, from larger forces than you. I tend to stick with My Body, The Earth, Elemental Forces/Directions, and variations on Our Holy Mother/Most Holy Death. There are others, go with ones that feel easy, safe, and not too demanding. Your body will tell you which relationships feel best.
Be specific with your immediate, personal, somatic outcome (ex. “I will be doing this specific thing for ten minutes, after which I will feel ____.”
Speak slowly so you can really feel the feedback between your sensations and your words/intentions. Move at the speed of trust. Stay present with your body sensations.
A container like this is designed to help you develop a secure base from which to work from. A secure base, or baseline, is one in which you feel relaxed and alert, brave and able to pause at any time in order to assess your current state, and make adjustments as needed.
After you weave a good-enough container, you can move into a practice.
Death-friending Practice One: Feeling How You Want To Feel Upon Dying
My recommendation for this is to set a timer for between three to ten minutes and close your eyes. I trust you to do what’s just right for you.
In this practice you will feel inside your body and create/find/summon the inner feeling state that you want to feel as you are dying, as if the next ten minutes is your last in this body. You can move or be still, you can make noise or be silent. You can make it up as you go along.
Things will come up. This is a tough little practice. It will get you feeling feelings that you may not like or want to feel. Better to feel them now and then be able to deal with them after the practice.
One of the pitfalls of this practice is that your mind may wander and dissociate. The trick is to keep summoning your desired state and notice what you notice.
After the timer goes off, be kind to yourself. Drink some water. Perhaps journal, yawn, give yourself a massage. Thank the spirits, the land and your nourishing relationships.
Death-friending Practice Two: Visiting With Her
In this practice, I am inviting you to ask Death Herself to visit you inside of the prayer container. Now, some of you may think this is dangerous because of Western notions of “the grim reaper” and other such scary stuff. Not only can I assure you that She is nothing like that, I will ease you into it with some more explanation.
Keep in mind, that you are not asking for trouble, pain, conflict or anything of the sort. You are asking to visit in a respectful way, for the purposes of healing and transformation for yourself and all your relations. When you call upon Her, be specific and slow with your words. Ask for what you want, keeping in mind that you want to start (or rekindle) a conscious relationship with Her in your life BEFORE you die. If it helps you feel safer/braver, you can use a timer as in the previous practice.
I have found Her to be very sweet, no-nonsense and very caring. Sometimes there is a mixture of grief and joy at once. A sensuous experience of time, change, eternity and gratitude.
Even 1% of Her energy might spark a strong response in your body. Notice what you notice. Notice if you are reaching your limit. If you start to spin out, have a racing mind or go into a trauma response, let your eyes move around the room where they want to go, perhaps allowing them to dwell on sights that feel good to you. I trust you to be able to adjust the encounter in a good way.
When you are in Her presence, you may feel some grief or rage moving. I suggest you let it flow out with sounds, emotions, body movements. You can speak plainly to Her from the places inside that hurt. You can ask her for help, for healing of yourself or your ancestors. There is no need to be an individual here. She is bigger than all of us, and holds everything and everyone with equity, grace and gravity.
When you are done with this visit, be specific in how and what you ask of Her, how you ask Her to “depart” or to guide your life. This isn’t so much a cognitive process as it is a deeply embodied, dreamlike process of relating with a primordial force.
I have a facebook group named EROS & THANATOS - Death Remembrance in the Traumacene, where I casually post things related to this topic.
It used to be named EROS & THANATOS - Death Remembrance in the Anthropocene, but I recently changed it because I enjoyed Eric Garza’s article Awakening To The Traumacene.
Eric has also made a solo show on the article here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/hcp-54-healing-26930116